Program Assistant Lara Zdanowicz (left) and Executive Director Jessica Stanfield (right) of the Guardian ad Litem Foundation, 20th Judicial Circuit, hold backpacks provided to area students during the Back to School with the Blue event in July.
The Guardian ad Litem Foundation, 20th Judicial Circuit, has received a $17,000 grant from the United Way of Charlotte County (UWCC) to continue representing children who have been abused, neglected or abandoned.
The generous grant will fund two initiatives:
- Children’s Needs Program ($10,000): Provides funding for normalcy items and experiences like birthday parties, tutoring, summer camp programs, movie tickets, beds and registration fees for clubs and sports.
- Growing Guardians Program ($7,000): Provides funding to recruit, train and support volunteer child advocates.
The Guardian ad Litem Foundation’s mission is ensuring that all children in Southwest Florida have a voice as they navigate the judicial, education and child welfare systems. Court-certified, volunteer child advocates make unbiased recommendations based on what’s best for children who are living in foster or temporary homes.
UWCC mobilizes the power of our community to break the cycle of poverty by bringing together local agencies, corporations, donors, volunteers and government to create lasting social change. UWCC strategically invests in, partners with, and mobilizes local community partners to solve the most complex social issues.
Currently, UWCC’s funded partners include 18 local agencies.
“United Way of Charlotte County believes in the work of the Guardian ad litem Foundation,” said UWCC Executive Director Angie Matthiessen. “Their volunteer GALs are a source of support for children in foster care, helping to encourage resilience that can last a lifetime. And by filling the financial gap for those childhood pleasures many of us take for granted, like a birthday party or summer camp, we are adding positive experiences and memories that can help refill the child’s bucket, offsetting the trauma they have faced.”
For more information about the Children’s Needs or Growing Guardians programs, please contact Jessica Stanfield at 239-533-1435 or JStanfield@GALFoundation20.org.
About Guardian ad Litem Foundation
Guardian ad Litem Foundation, 20th Judicial Circuit, was established in 1984 and is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that supports Guardian ad Litem programs in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. The Foundation, a United Way Partner Agency, has a mission of ensuring that every abused, neglected or abandoned youth in Southwest Florida has a voice as they navigate the judicial, education and child welfare system. The Foundation raises funds that help meet a child’s health, educational and social needs, as well as provide support for highly trained volunteer advocates who represent the best interests of a child until a safe, permanent placement is established. For additional information, visit VoicesForKids.org or call 239-533-1435.